• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrived here Sunday evening to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

During the flight on a government jet from Tokyo, Koizumi told reporters that during the summit Monday and Tuesday he would seek support from fellow leaders in the 21-member APEC forum for Japan’s efforts to address North Korea issues, including its past abductions of Japanese as well as the country’s nuclear and missile development programs.

But it is unclear whether all of the regional economic forum’s members — particularly China and Russia — will show their complete backing and concur with Japan’s wish to put such sentiment in a special statement on North Korea that is being drafted.

Japan has been lobbying to include the abduction issue in the document, but concerns from some APEC members over provoking Pyongyang may prevent specific reference to the matter.

The APEC leaders will spend most of their time discussing trade and other economic matters and antiterrorism, according to conference sources, so the special statement may only call for the continuation of the six-nation dialogue on North Korea’s nuclear program.

In the statement, the APEC leaders are to praise the holding of the first round of talks involving the United States, North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia in Beijing in late August and emphasize the need to keep the framework going, the sources said.

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